Fog On The Tyne

Fog On The Tyne

IT’S amazing to think that just three weeks back I was heading South on a fast train for a weekend in London that included a meeting with a top London Literary Agent in the champagne bar of the Hilton Park Lane and my first ever book signing South of the Border at WH Smith, Kingston Upon Thames.

And I’m delighted to report that both ‘dates’ were resoundingly successful with the 57 books I signed and sold at WH Smith ‘KUT’, in no small part due to the fantastic organisational skills and hospitality of GM Nick Newsum. A gentleman who was indeed a real gent and with whom I’m pictured below at the end of a good day’s work!!


While my meeting with Susan Mears of The Susan Mears Literary Agency was also very fruitful and I am delighted, at last, to now have literary representation through an established, respected agent who has offices in London, Dubai and New York and exceptional contacts in the world of publishing and film.

But going forward tomorrow I start the first leg of my four date WHSmith North of England tour with a trip on the 715am train out of Stirling bound for Newcastle…and the nerves are kicking in already!!

I am hopeful that any members of the ‘Geordie Nation’ who can beat the ‘Fog On The Tyne’ and trot through the doors of WH Smith, Newcastle’s Northumberland Street store between 11am and 3pm, will understand me a bit better than the good citizens of Kingston Upon Thames.

My opening gambit with any ‘punter’ who approaches me at a signing is ‘Good morning young lady (no matter the age) or sir, are you partial to a top quality crime thriller?’

But for some reason my Scottish brogue made understanding the word thriller almost impossible for the denizens of ‘KUT’ and pretty soon I gave up and went with novel.

Still despite my message getting lost in translation 57 sales wasn’t too shabby!

But while I was down in London Town I was as usual ‘eyes on’ devouring locations, people and making other observations with which I will be basing a four or five chapter action sequence of ‘Fear’ the MS I am currently working on, set in the capital.

The picture below is taken in Cannizaro House, Hotel Du Vin Wimbledon, which will be the atmospheric location for an arms deal gone wrong in which former SAS ‘player’ Ludovic Fear finds himself wandering onto the security services grid!

Hotel Du Vin Wimbledon

‘Write now’ I am 12,000 words into the MS, which is entitled imaginatively, ‘Fear’, and what I really am enjoying about writing this book is that while some of it is set in my historic home city of Stirling, significant chunks will involve ‘on the road’ sequences (in London) and I’m sure Newcastle will also provide me with something interesting for my back pocket tomorrow.

On top of that I have just learned that my date with Frederick Forsyth CBE, who will be hosting the final of The People’s Book Prize, is on May 23, in The Stationers Hall, London.

Exciting times ahead….I hope!



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Of The Border

South Of The Border

As I write this blog I am currently enjoying a refreshing glass of Sauvignon Blanc in the Virgin Trains first class carriage, a little decadent I admit, but the first time I have indulged myself with the type of luxury that would have had Agatha Christie penning Murder on The Orient Express before luncheon was served…..not!!!

This is a big weekend for me and hopefully one that will reap rich rewards but I can tell you now the vino is an attempt to end the knocking of my knees…be still my beating joints!!

Accompanied by my chaperone (really she is a child minder) my dear lady wife Arlene, we have a meeting with a top London Literary Agency with offices in Ney York & Dubai, at 5pm in the Hilton Park Lane Champagne Bar…did I just say that?

Surely not…again I refer you to my earlier comments on the immortal Agatha!!!

While tomorrow comes the ultimate test with my first ever book signing ‘South Of The Border’ at WH Smith Kingston Upon Thames, which I am at the same time both looking forward to and wishing I had never agreed to.

My concerns as follows:

1: No one will understand me.

2: They will all think I’m John Gordon Sinclair (a curse that has bedevilled me since teenage)

3: The good denizens of ‘KUT’ will be wholly ambivalent to my uncouth Scottish ways and ham-fisted charm offensive in a “quite frankly my dear I don’t give a damn’ fashion!”

So WRITE now your sheepish crime author needs all the fortification, although not too much, he can get!

Apart from all that, this week I have just completed the synopsis for the follow up to the still frustratingly unpublished ‘Heist’, the first outing for disgraced ex-SAS operator Ludovic Fear (formerly Graham, but I’ve had a rethink due to a fantastic Daily Telegraph Obit!) and entitled, imaginatively, ‘Fear’.

While my nerves may be jangling, I promise I will remain ‘eyes-on’ as we used to say in ‘the job’, as I drink in every minutiae of my one-man (you sad Scottish twat!) invasion of the capital for recycling in a plot line that is, even though I modestly say it myself, the most exciting I have ever come up with!!

SOOOOoooo, the gentleman in the natty waistcoat has arrived with a strong black coffee, and as I peruse the slightly menacing, golden haired, ‘Old Etonian’ type in a tweed jacket two seats down, I think I have just found a perfect baddy for the start of the ‘Fear’ MS which I will begin next week.

Funny the people you come across in the first class carriage of a Virgin Train!!

Please say your prayers, buy prayer beads and ware out your prayer mats for me tonight!!!

As someone once said ‘In Vino Veritas!’!





Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment